After a few days of floundering, I've refocused. I was online on, I think, Sunday, at Forward Motion and hopped in to attend the Think Tank. Talking to everyone there helped me figured out what I was doing. *bows worshipfully in homage to fellow writers' wisdom*
Problem: I wanted to insert a bit of Akiro's past history into the THoL. The only way I could think of doing so was through expanding the novel into a trilogy. However, I was having difficulty writing that much, even though I've learned a few things (for example that Akotai killed their mother and actually forced Miyara into marriage before using her the same way he'd used his mother. I'm not certain if she kills herself somehow, or if Akiro killed her to spare her further pain).
Well, I've figured out how to do it: Pei Pei.
Which means, the rewrite of THoI is going to be more complicated--it's already taken about five or six chapters just to get Barukei out of the palace and to his parents' home. Now, he's run off so Rikiyu and Jaiya are on a hunt for him. whee And I've upped the ante a bit, too. Rikiyu hadn't gained the sought-after control of his voice, so must of what he says is flat in addition to being higher-pitched in the search for perfect neutrality. Jaiya knows him very well. So does Barukei (when he's not drunk).
He's had an encounter--brief with Akiro. A longer one with Akotai. He knows something deeper is going on, and right now he's only looking out for Barukei. However, I've foreshadowed his death as well as the fact that Akiro will become involved in things, even though he's becoming known as "The Traitor's Brother."
Which brings me to the next novel. *grin* The Hand of Liberty was good, but it wasn't the best. ANd it was repetetive. I don't want to repeat "the Hand of This" and "the Hand of That" throughout. Besides, since he is the Traitor's Brother, and that's how it begins, and it follows him even to the Throne, I thought it might be best.
Over that, I'm going to try and finagle some things. I know Akiro gets married to someone. A willing wife, much younger than he--but age isn't much of an issue to Imotinans. What is the issue is his history. Most people won't realize what he did to help Rikiyu in THoI. Damn few will realize that he's the Heir until it's too late. Well, few among the Muti and Baiya classes will. The Oji class is a different matter, and the most important class in terms of politics. They're the ones who will be Akiro's major support, I think.
I'm so excited. *GRIN*